Customs To ‘Name and Shame’ Delinquent Firms

Monday 20th, December 2010 / 08:41 Published by

Bahamians have always tried to escape paying Customs duties when they come back from their Miami shopping trips by cramming merchandise in their suitcases and pretending that it was there when they left.  But an even bigger problem for Customs officers are the Bahamian businesses that are engaging in smuggling on a “large scale basis”.  These companies attempt to evade duties by undervaluing goods or altering invoices in an effort to pay less tax than they should.  Some just outright smuggle the goods into the country.

A new Customs Management Act will allow the government to publicly “name and shame” the companies that are found guilty of smuggling and tax evasion.  Plus, they will be charged hefty fines.

Glen Gomez, Comptroller of Customs warned business engaing in such practices that the game is up.

Along with the new legislation, a code of conduct, specifically tailored to Customs officers, will also be introduced as well as a new commission to hear complaints.  This, Gomez says, will more effectively enforce discipline and increase revenue collection.

The revised Customs Management Act, presently in draft form, is expected to go before Parliament in 2011.

Gomez told a local newspaper that smuggling is of “grave concern” for the Department of Customs.

Meanwhile, Customs is presently investigating the discovery of hundreds of undeclared items, including cases of beer, ice cream and cheap cigars, that were found on a vessel at Potter’s Cay Dock earlier this month.

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